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Pret a Manger tells thousands of staff to cut their hours by a fifth after being hit hard by coronavirus

PRET a Manger wants thousands of staff to cut their hours by a fifth.

The sandwich and coffee chain has been badly hit as office staff carry on working from home despite the easing of lockdown.

Business has been down at least 80 per cent on pre-pandemic levels — but there was some improvement last week after Boris Johnson encouraged bosses to get staff back into city centres.

A July study showed that only a third are back, against two thirds in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Pret has warned that 1,000 of 8,000 jobs could be lost as 30 of its 410 stores close. It hopes cutting hours will save some roles.

A spokesman told The Sunday Times: “Our priority is to do everything we can to save jobs. With footfall in our shops still significantly below normal levels, we have had to review the hours team members are contracted to work.”

Pret was founded in the UK in 1986 by two university pals, who sold it in 2008.

The firm expanded rapidly, often opening city outlets close to each other.

It was sold for £1.5billion two years ago to German group JAB.

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